hafacenturyncounting

Motivated by a lack of material.

“Periwinkle” Has To Go!

Dear Disney.. and Precious Moments. I am writing to you to protest the  Happy Birthday Train. It features Disney Princess from Snow White to Merida. Problem is someone is left out. Can you guess who..yep once gain Tiana did NOT make the cut. How and why does this keep happening?  12 opportunities for a princess spot on the train and Tiana gets sidetracked by two “fairies (Tinkerbell and Periwinkle).

I have to be honest the working princess story line was NOT my favorite; along with the fact that she ultimately ends up marrying a guy who does not look like her or share her ethnicity ( he was however brown). Once again we have to be grateful for “slim-pickins”. Earlier this year it was”leaked” Tiana was getting new skin and hair permed for her cameo in “Wreck-it Ralph 2”. The outcry was so loud that Disney went back in and made Tiana look like she did in HER film. The African American Princess we have come to know and LOVE!

I started on my mission. I promptly called Disney(and had Precious Moments on my list to call next). It may seem small and insignificant but where does our sense of self-esteem begin?  I will give you a “for-instance”I have a granddaughter and she is beautiful, brown and sports NATURAL hair.  I however wore my hair straight and chemically processed for 30+ years. Yet, I kept her hair in braids for ease as well as beauty. One occasion I requested her(now our) stylist leave part of her hair out in a puffy bun. It was gorgeous! I told her how pretty she was and how good her hair looked.

One weekend she spent with me she asked me to twist her hair up. I asked her did she like her hair. She responded “Yes but I just want it twisted.” I read much more into”yes but”. I thought of how OUR stylist over the course of 2+ years once asked if I ever though about going natural?” Without a pause I promptly answered,”No.”  Me who constantly commented on how good natural hair looked on other women, me who constantly spoke of how wonderful it was for black women NOT to be forced to wear OUR hair in a fashion that made “others comfortable or how we were no longer relegated to “other’s” standard of beauty.  As I twisted my little granddaughters hair I though of what Addison saw everyday. Her mother’s hair was in a straighten style but it was natural, her other grandmother wore her hair straight and me  her “Abuela” straight as possible with no curl.  Again where does self-esteem start, what message was this little girl reading?

3 years this year since I got off what is fondly known as “creamy-crack”. Do I miss it? NO! What do I love. I love getting out of bed and my hair is the LAST thing I have to worry about. I love rainy/drizzly weather and walking past women getting their umbrellas into position. I love driving with my windows down. What does this have to do with the Birthday Train ? Well it has to do with perceptions and self esteem. One MUST be happy with oneself for that sense of self to be positive. So Disney I love you BUT I love being brown-skinned with hair that is not necessarily straight unless I choose for it to be. There are MILLIONS of little girls who look like me and need to know they are fabulous JUST AS THEY ARE! Leave Tiana alone looks-wise, but don’t exclude her because she looks different. Hell, Ariel has a TAIL!

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LOSS-Vilomah

“As the gray-haired should NOT bury those with black-hair”

During your life have you ever done something you really did not want to do? I already know the answer. Be it apologize for something you really did not feel you did wrong, or have a meal with someone you really didn’t like; something inside of you  or outward conditions put you in that spot. You were left with an option though, even if/ even considering the consequences and/or outcome.

I wish I could write things are better, things are getting easier but I cannot.  A few short months into this HORROR I have learned many things, and many are NOT what you would call good. However, they are sources of knowledge and what is knowledge if not shared.

VILOMAH.  It is a word of the Sanskirt language as is the word widow. Translated  VILOMAH means against natural order…  VILOMAH describes what is now my life. VILOMAH speaks a different language that most of the time, only the unfortunate members of this tribe understand. A simple question,” Are you better?”no longer has a one or two word response. Feelings and emotions(happy;smiles) which are already faceted and complex, reach an entirely different level. ALL life will change, but my life has already changed into something I did NOT  want, I did NOT imagine, and I CANNOT escape. However, I now know my new role has a name. With that name came a great deal of sense and understanding. My change will never change. The widow can remarry, the orphan can be adopted. My status, my identity shall always be for all my days, VILOMAH.  I am not merely VILOMAH, I am other things as well. Yet by fate, by chance, by divine plan; I must “embrace” VILOMAH,  for it IS a part of me and I have no choice.

Laugh, Dream, LIVE

My goodness, seemingly every other day you are buying a lottery ticket. My eyes role upwards to indicate my sarcasm and disdain. I shake my head in disapproval and disbelief, but it is your money. Vacationing in the Swiss Alps, I say are you kidding me, nuthin up there for me.  Precisely!

As we venture deeper into this half-century mark and beyond, the changes become more and more evident, we are NOT like those who explored life in this era before us. We are not even like our old selves. Change no matter how we resist it, comes. We shall be Sexagenarians before we know it, and if we are fortunate.

Try not to focus on the negative, mind you this is not an infomercial or plug for positive thinking. I am NOT qualified, I can only tell you what I have seen and lived in first person. Others have unique experiences and perhaps those experience may make them ascribe to the positive-thinking philosophy. I only say that being negative or critical or suspect only gives you a perspective that matches your mood. If you do NOT do something to counteract this you will be swept into the whirlpool of the “downers”. No one wants to be a part of that community.

To the travelers, mountain climbers, and surfers; I say do these things and get your fill! To the players of games, sports, or chance;  I say do you someone IS going to win! I still scream with excitement as I ride my favorite roller-coasters. I am charmed by my little acrobat as she finds some other reason to be soaring towards the atmosphere.

LAUGH because it is good for you and those around you, DREAM because “dreaming is a form of planning” and LIVE your lives accordingly.

Reciprocate Whenever Possible

One of my wise dear friends once told me,” People will not always give you what you give them”.  Sometimes we get disappointed by the people who are in our lives. Family and friends not quite living up to your expectation, disregarding or taking advantage of you. I think we all can be a bit unreasonable and demanding. Our high expectations that are preceded by unspoken requirements lead to such disappointments. Then we are upset when these people we love and care about don’t do what we think they should. Our feeling of, “it’s only natural/or naturally” is unreasonable many times. You have to give folks the benefit of the doubt.

While you don’t want to have to constantly TELL individuals exactly what is on your mind, you also don’t want to instantly deduce them overlooking something is mean-spirited or insensitive. As members of the human race we are afforded a couple of flubs..daily. We have  to remind ourselves that maybe we make someone we love and care about feel the exact same way we are feeling in the now. It may NOT be the same loved one you are feeling neglected by either.

All of us have to do things, say things, fix things for one another. Know that those constant, regular payouts may never be reciprocated in volume or intensity.  Take slow deep breaths, give yourself a chance to gather up your feelings and regroup. As you give yourself a chance to look at your particular situation, yield to the issue you are dealing with knowing this does not mean the individual on the other side has emotions that are any less heartfelt.

Do Over

Ah yet another racist comment ends the career of another high profile being. This time it’s good-ole John Schnatter of “Papa John’s Pizza”. Wow this guy as with most of the others who got caught with their”pants down” , demonstrates what an apologetic burglar or murderer exhibits after their conviction..SORRY, SO SORRY; THEY GOT CAUGHT! When is this country going to learn that just because you can does NOT mean you should?

45, the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, fosters hate, deceit, and anger. The saddest part about that is, others who do not buy into his philosophies or practices are still subjected to them.  You lie, you are proven to be a liar and you deny or ignore. You say or do insensitive things, then you ask to be forgiven or overlook that bad thing I got caught saying or doing because it does not reflect how I really feel, who I really am…

How about this;

DON’T SAY OR DO THESE UGLY THINGS and then you don’t have to have vicious TRUTHS thrown in your face!

In adult world, there are no “do-overs” if there were I think many of us would be in that line for one reason or another. I love the 1970’s because we as a society had a “happy face” shown to us daily and it did not take long for us to embrace that sunny yellow smile. We were pleasant to one another(or we tried to be) , it was not looked down on because you cared how someone else felt. Today we have an orange frown shoved in our faces and we are seeing the damage it can do/is doing. We, who do NOT abide by the new standard 45 and his administration demonstrate, MUST fight and fight hard so it is a known fact we will NOT tolerate, INTOLERANCE. These types MUST be made to know, their ugliness is more of the exception than the rule.

LOSS-Everybody Needs Attention

One morning as I woke and slowly prepared for my duties of the day, my dog looked at me in the needy fashion that tells me she is ready to go out and I better put some urgency to it. I handled her and came back inside hoping to sit and just be… alas she is feeling good and relieved, it is time to play. Then I became aware that other daily duties needed to commence as well. I tossed her the ball for a few minutes hoping she would tire soon. She is such a sweet, cute, fun, lively dog, I wanted to tell her as I looked deep into her eyes,” Tiana, I am trying to be sad here.”

My family needs me. I have an ailing spouse to look after, meals to prepare, a house that needed attention(cleaning and such), a business to maintain, and another job I had to prepare for in the evening. I realized I am doing/trying to do waaay to much. However, that has been the case for sometime now. I was able to manage before though. Life forces us to keep moving forward, even when we do not want to. Sometimes you cry your way through a task, but you get through it just the same. The formula for the next task; you get up, throw yourself into overdrive, and you keep moving.  Exhaustion tries to take over and flex it’s muscle, you do not relinquish anything. People look at you and wonder how you do it. Funny thing is you wonder too.

As I struggle through, living through this horrible, horrible thing called LOSS one thing  I can tell you is this; sometimes you just don’t want to be “bothered”. You are NOT yourself; you have a hard time understanding who you are and why you are. You would love to have help, comfort, understanding but the one thing you truly want and need… NO ONE is able to provide you with. That is not to say the efforts are not admirable, appreciated, or welcomed..it is merely explaining a person in the midst of the storms of loss and grief are just not in the same consciousness as others are, at many times.

As I write this I warn the loved ones who remain around us not to give up, the person you know IS forever changed, but there are remnants that are right below the surface of that being you once knew, struggling/trying to come back to you. If you give up and walk away, they may be lost to you forever.  Keep calling, texting, stopping by…we want you with us; we just don’t want to bore you with OUR TROUBLES.

 

Until There Was No Salt Left In My Tears

I cannot begin to tell you, I cannot begin to measure, all I know is in the midst of one of my many crying spells I noticed my tears were not salty. I asked myself were my tear ducts tired or was my body deficient in some other way.  What ever the answer, I did not care I just noticed the salty taste was no longer there.

Maybe there had been so many I got used to the taste. Maybe I was actually producing them at such a rapid rate my body did not have a chance to include the salt, for after all our bodies do function in many ways like and assembly line. However, I did have to abandon those thoughts, because in reality the salt/salty taste has more to do with the amount of salt in your body than with production of the tears. It sounded good, it was a little poetic, it was once again a demonstration of the fact that there is a deep hurt within me that comes out with or without warning, and sometimes/many times it is in the form of tears.

Crying is something I do not have to think about, it takes up so much of my time analyzing it was effortless and inevitable. Crying is an individual sport with me, meaning I do it alone. I approach it in a systematic, logical fashion; I say as I collapse into a puddle on the ground. Problem is this experience defies all I know, all I have been taught. There are no rules, no guidelines. Therefore, there is seemingly no help and everything is a testing ground.

I do see a change though, as the tearful spells continue to arise from seemingly nowhere for no apparent reason. Perhaps that is normal, and perhaps that is a part of my new “normal”. I am told by other parents who have lost children, year two is worse than year one. I appreciate that “they” do  not try to make folks who are a part of this group feel “better” instilling false hope. “They” tell you the real truth, your expectations are already nil. The hope you have is, to somehow survive this, and you are made aware that the only way to get through it is to go through it…”The fire that burns but does not consume”.  Hurt, pain, agony, and the common response to all of them…crying. With or without salt.

It’s Not Contagious

As I try to understand all that I feel and all I think regarding this existence that is now mine, crazy thoughts cross my mind. I guess, I am allowed a bit of crazy. No worries there, I have plenty.

The Grief; I wish someone could answer my questions or show me the direction I should be traveling in. I have heard the endless statement saying, ” There is no correct way..” I wonder if this is actually true or is it that the grief, in and of itself, is simply NOT correct. I KNOW I believe my source of grief just seems so very wrong, so very incorrect. I need a “do-over” I tell myself, for this was clearly an error.

We, the afflicted..we need to be sad, many times we want to be sad. As strange as that sounds it is a mechanism by which we will, perhaps be able to use to come through this thing.  YES our route is plotted, although in many respects it is NOT defined by nothing more than we must head straight through the pain.

We do hope that we do not run you away. We mask our pain and sadness, we avoid contact when we know it is all encompassing. However, as terrible as this is for us, you need to know it is not something we can pass on to you, there is no contagion involved. It may be superstition imposing itself upon you, it could be karma. or the teachings of your faith. Know this for certain, we would not do something to trigger what we are going through to you, even if was possible. Unlike the yawns of others or a wonderful laugh session..this belongs to us, the members of the club no one wants to be a part of, exclusively. We need you, we need you to witness us so that we can come back from this terrible journey and be there for another who will need to have the benefit of  someone who has been where they must go. Through the pain, toss out a lifeline, please.

 

Focus

I look around and see so many things that NEED to be done. I walk past items that need to be addressed. My phone has the alerts blowing up. I sit or stand in a stationary position unable to move, unable to think, unable to function. I wait for the items to take care of themselves, knowing full well that is NOT going to happen.

The laundry is getting done but the folding and hanging is not happening. The dishes are in the sink, but they still need to be washed or put in the dishwasher. The house is vacuumed, the pets are fed, these things need attention daily without a thought. Now, they require a plan which includes reminders. I realize this is perhaps how the hoarders and people we deem as strange may have begun. Just a simple state of being confused, or hurt, or stuck. Maybe it was tragedy that invaded their existence, maybe it was illness, maybe they just became overwhelmed and had no one or nothing to motivate them, to bring them back.

Searching for the place where concentration used to be, the place where things used to be accomplished, I now question whether I was ever able to make anything happen. I have this question because seemingly, getting things done is virtually impossible.

Riding along side concentration, or lack there of, is joy. They both appear to be getting lost, and a collision course with despair is clearly ahead. No one wants to be in these places; and for certain you don’t want to have people YOU care about in these places with or because of YOU.  Know your friends and/or loved ones are  enthralled in a battle, a battle of which they have never encountered before, and of which the outcome is still quite unclear.

Sundays Are Hard

I ask myself how many more will I count. Today as I start this piece I remind myself only 5 weeks have passed. I sigh in disbelief and exhaustion, knowing that if things remain as they are now, there are many more to come..

I was born at 5 A.M. on an October Sunday in 1959. Some 57 years later in 2016 Mom passed away at approximately  5 A.M. in October on a Sunday. The latest blow; my dear youngest son, Jay passed away on a Sunday morning in January of 2018, a mere 30 years old. Sundays are hard and lately they seem to be coming at me in an alarmingly rapid rate, or so it seems.

There is a poem called Monday’s Child… it came to mind because I  am seemingly having some difficult experiences on Sundays. However, according to the poem and to paraphrase I, as a child born on the Sabbath, am blessed. Well I will leave that idea open for review.

I tell myself, I am okay, I tell myself, I must go on.  I wonder from day to day, is any of this true. How can it be? Every tear that falls, and they are bountiful, reminds me of the pain I want to go away but it will not.  Sometimes I tell myself do what you used to do on Sundays. Do what you grew up doing, do what feels right. Let me share something with you..NOTHING FEELS RIGHT. Sunday is a marker, no matter how I try when 3 A.M. rolls around some how my eyes are fixed on the clock. My semi-awake state tells me 19 minutes and __ weeks ago my child floated away from life as I know it. Sundays are hard.

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